Flintoff: Stokes is better than me

England

Former England captain Andrew Flintoff says Ben Stokes is more talented than he ever was and believes the New Zealand-born all-rounder has the potential to become one of England's greats.

Flintoff made his name in England's 2005 Ashes win over Australia, their first in 18 years, contributing 24 wickets and 402 runs to tip the scales in the Three Lions favour.

Excited fans believed the all-rounder could become the country's next Ian Botham, but his career was cut short by a knee injury in 2009.

However, Flintoff insists that much of his success was built on bravado and imposing himself on the opposition rather than any great cricketing skill.

"I was a pretty unskilful cricketer," he said. "I survived a lot on bravado and trying to use my size.

"It's always hard when people get compared but I think Stokes should set his standards a little bit higher rather than think about me.

"I think Stokes has a lot more skill. He could be one of England's greats."

The 37-year-old is confident the current England squad has what it takes to reclaim the Ashes from Australia, despite being whitewashed 5-0 by the same opposition in the 2013/14 season.

"You look at it on paper," he said. "The captain [Alastair Cook] is scoring runs, you have Ian Bell with 20-odd hundreds, Joe Root's brilliant, Gary Ballance averages 50-odd, Adam Lyth has just scored a 100 and then you've got an all-rounder [Stokes].

"Bowling wise, you've got Jimmy Anderson with 400 wickets, Stuart Broad 280.

"The one area which I think they'll be looking at is the spin department. But that's the only one area where they might be a bit weak. Apart from that, they're a good team."

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